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So: the place have been you on the evening of July 6?

The query was hardly a shock, however Andreas Pereira may have simply screwed up his reply. It was one way or the other an interrogation, however as an alternative of cops in a windowless room, the Manchester United participant was surrounded by a press pack composed primarily of Brazilians forward of Friday’s pleasant towards the U.S. in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The date in query concerned a sufferer with no crime: it was the day the Selecao have been knocked out of Russia 2018 by Belgium in Kazan.

The place was Andreas? Let the child converse.

“I used to be certainly in Belgium, and it was very arduous to look at the sport there. My Belgian associates have been making enjoyable of me, and my father’s associates have been jokingly saying I had to decide on Belgium after the defeat. The outcome was painful, however all of us have to lift our heads and work arduous,” mentioned Pereira on Monday, as a part of his first information convention for his first Selecao cap.

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Born in Duffel, within the Flemish area of Belgium, Andreas has a German mom, and his Brazilian father, Marcos Antonio, is a former skilled footballer who spent most of his profession with Belgium golf equipment. The boy by no means lived in Brazil, and it was greater than pure that he ended up taking part in for the Crimson Devils at numerous youth ranges, at the very least till 2014, when he introduced his want to symbolize the five-time World Cup winners as an alternative.

On the time, Brazilian media highlighted the lobbying finished by the Brazilian Soccer Confederation, extra particularly by then-youth coordinator Alexandre Gallo, however the participant publicly mentioned he wanted no such convincing.

“I’ve at all times dreamed of taking part in for Brazil, and after I met Gallo on the United coaching floor, I advised him there have been no doubts. I did not need to play for Belgium once more.”

It was a gutsy assertion when one remembers what an annus horribilis 2014 was for the Selecao. And never everybody was satisfied the choice was particular. Beneath FIFA naturalisation guidelines, Pereira was nonetheless eligible for Belgium and the truth that a single look for the Brazil U23 was sufficient to feed rumours he may do one other 180-degree flip. In reality, as just lately as Aug. 17 it was reported that Roberto Martinez was reportedly entertaining a call-up for Pereira as a part of Belgium’s first post-World Cup worldwide dates.

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Even Romelu Lukaku obtained concerned and used his language expertise at United’s Carrington coaching floor to candy discuss the younger midfielder in Portuguese.

“He tried to persuade me. ‘You have gotta play for Belgium, man.’ I advised him there was no comparability, that I might really feel at dwelling representing Brazil. He advised me to comply with my coronary heart and that he revered my determination,” Pereira recalled.

Pereira was pulled by some Man United teammates to represent Belgium but ultimately, he wanted to pursue a career for Brazil.
Pereira was pulled by some Man United teammates to symbolize Belgium, however finally, he needed to pursue a profession for Brazil.

However how at dwelling can Pereira actually really feel with the yellow shirt? The group welcomed him and different rookies Richardson and Paqueta with the standard ritual during which they must sing or dance: the photographs are throughout social media for those who care to look.

On the pitch, the story is extra complicated. Tite has already introduced the beginning XI for the pleasant sport towards the U.S. on Friday evening and the one new face within the staff is Liverpool’s Fabinho. Pereira may get some minutes within the second half, however his actual probability to shine is prone to be the sport towards El Salvador at FedEx Subject on Tuesday, Sept. 11. His versatility appears to be his finest weapon, since he can play both in a holding function alongside Casemiro or additional ahead in midfield.

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“It is an honour to put on the Selecao shirt, and I need to assist the staff and the supervisor in any method I can. The truth that I’ve already defended Brazil at U20 stage will help me a bit, and I need to show I may be right here,” the 22-year-old mentioned this week.

Regardless, Pereira figures to be a fringe participant in the meanwhile. Towards a uncooked U.S. facet with no full-time supervisor, Brazil supervisor Tite is prone to deploy a formation during which Casemiro would be the enforcer, Coutinho and Pereira’s Man United teammate Fred in wider conditions the place they’ll assist the attacking trio of Douglas Costa, Neymar and Roberto Firmino.

In soccer phrases, nonetheless, there may be an eternity till the subsequent World Cup, and let’s not neglect the gruelling, 18-game slog that’s CONMEBOL qualifying. Pereira has time to interrupt into the squad, however his essential battle within the interim is to amass minutes for Man United, which he actually hasn’t finished thus far.

That is the place Pereira’s large gamble may repay.

“It’s totally arduous for many gamers to be on the prime in a four-year cycle. I might want to very effectively for Manchester United to maintain coming again to the Selecão. Solely the perfect will survive,” he admits.

He’s already making historical past one way or the other: Pereira is the primary overseas participant in 100 years to symbolize Brazil.



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